The Lions had a very divisive draft this year compared to the previous years in the Brad Holmes era. Some analysts have ranked them as having the worst draft in the league while others believe they had a top 10 draft. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, everyone can agree that the Lions took a different approach to the draft this year, but why? Well, simply put, the Lions showed with this draft that they see themselves as ready to compete.
The big difference in the way the Lions drafted this year is that they drafted to fill holes instead of looking for positional value or the best player available. Jack Campbell and Jahmyr Gibbs are indeed heavy scheme fits in Detroit, but they play the positions that are least valuable in the modern NFL. It may seem like they reached for them, but they see them as scheme fits and are highly graded and talented. Same with the later picks such as Sam LaPorta or Hendon Hooker. Guys that fill positional needs and have high grades for what they’ll be asked to do.
What Are They Trying to Say?
Teams traditionally switch to this style of drafting when they are in a contention window because they are only missing a few pieces to make the big run. Kansas City drafted a running back with their first draft pick in recent years, the Bills took a tight end this year as well, and the Packers took a QB with Aaron Rodgers on the roster. Teams can afford to take these picks when they are ready to compete because the difference between playoffs and missing out could be that lack of a pass-catching tight end or explosive running back to aid the offense.
In all, the Lions showed their intentions as soon as they made their first two picks of the draft. They’re in win now mode, and that’s something that should be refreshing to know for fans.